Some time ago, I was waiting at one of the stops on Interstate for the Yellow Line to go downtown. There was an old woman with a shopping cart waiting on the platform. Her back was hunched way, way over, in a way that made me straighten my spine and breathe a sigh of relief. She stooped over her cart, using it for a walker as much as a vessel for all her worldly possessions. She wore layers of dirty clothes and her hair was long thick and gray, and somehow, rather impressive. A shower and shampoo would have fixed her up like a shiny penny.
She was a mumbler. The only polite thing to do around a mumbler is pretend you don’t hear them. They aren’t talking to you. As she got closer, I actually realized she was a grumbler, and the incoherent words dropping from her saggy jowls were an endlessly long complaint. She shuffled and grumbled. Shuffled and grumbled.
She came near enough that I could have understood what she was saying, if the words had made any sense beyond low frequency disappointment. She swiveled her head up from her aching tortoise back and spied the TriMet marquee displaying the next train’s arrival.
“Today is Tuesday, not Wednesday,” she said, looking at the marquee.
“IDIOTS.” Her voice dripped contempt.
I hadn’t noticed the marquee. She shuffled away, grumbling.
She was right. It was Tuesday.
Story contributed by Heather, who blogs at Mile73.com.